007 Travel Story: London (ENGLAND) 2022: “St. Petersburg and Shanghai in London”December 30, 2022 0 By 007 Travelers
It has been over three years since our last 007 trip due to Covid. Since it is a 60th anniversary year (2022) of celebrating James Bond on big screen, what would have been better place to celebrate it than 007’s home town: London. This was our fifth time in London and the theme was “No Time to Die” (2021) filming locations. Of course there would be other places to visit also on the way.
Bond locations of this 007 Travel Story:
King’s Cross – St. Pancras train station
The Langham Hotel
O2 Arena (Millennium Dome)
Virgin Health Club (Shanghai pool in Skyfall)
Wednesday 2nd of November 2022:
Our family arrived in the evening from Helsinki to Heathrow by Finnair. We bought Oyster Cards (really recommended) from Heathrow and took a tube to Paddington station where Bond arrives in the Young Bond book “SilverFin” (2005) by Charlie Higson and after changing the line we found our first place to stay, the Ridgemount Hotel.
“At Paddington station he said goodbye to his travelling companions and dragged his suitcase down the escalator to the Underground station, from where he was to travel across London to meet his connection at King’s Cross.”
Charlie Higson: “Young Bond: SilverFin” (2005)
Accommodation: The Ridgemount Hotel
Address: 65-67 Gower Street, London, England
Room Type: Triple Ensuite (ensuite facilities)
Price: £156,60 / one night (182,81 EUR) / 3 persons, breakfast is included (part of discount offer “last minute” – 10% off nightly room rate)
Booked: via hotel’s site
On the first night, we were only supposed to find a place for dinner, and we took a couple of pictures from the same area of the places that were mentioned in the Bond books.
At 8 Charlotte Street there used to be a restaurant called Au Savarin, where Bond eats with Paula Vacker (this is mentioned in John Gardner‘s book “Icebreaker“, 1983), nowadays there is a restaurant called Norma London at that location.
“Bond laid siege. First, he tried to impress, but she did not like at the Connaught, the Inn on the Park, Tiberio’s, the Dorchester, the Savoy or the Royal Garden Roof; while tea at the Brown’s she found merely “amusing”. He was just about to take her on the Tramps’ and Annabel’s circuit when she found Au Savarin in Charlotte Street for herself. It was “her”, and the patron came and sat at their table, towards the end of the meals, so that they could swap risqué stories. Bond was not so sure about that.
John Gardner: “Icebreaker” (1983)
Bertorelli’s was the restaurant at 19-23 Charlotte Street where Bond had lunch with Ian Fleming in John Pearson‘s autobiography “James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007” (1973). Now there is a restaurants called Carousel and Lucky Buns in the same place.
“Fleming had chosen Bertorelli’s Italian restaurant in Charlotte Street for their meeting – a change from Scott’s: none of those silver tankards of black velvet, no grilled plaice. They had the plat du jour, an ambiguous wartime stew called spezzatino, and half a bottle of Valpolicella. It was a strange background in which to be asked to kill a man. Not that Fleming used the word ‘kill’. He said, ‘deal with’. It was all arranged and shouldn’t be too difficult. But there must be absolutely no mistakes. There was a fearful lot at stake. Fleming poured himself the last of the Valpollicela and started to explain his task.”
John Pearson: “James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007” (1973)
Oh yes, the goal of the arrival night was successful, we found a suitable dinner place in the area, and ate pizzas at a place called Icco – “The People’s Pizzeria“. The place is full of life, and good pizza!
Thursday 3rd of November 2022
The day started with breakfast at our hotel. We were the first ones there and soon others came too. It was nice to recognize a Finnish accent in the crowd. We chatted a few words with this nice Finnish lady and wished her a nice day before we checked out.
We headed to King’s Cross St. Pancras train station and found the famous 9 and 3/4 track from the Harry Potter movies. Also Bond movie “GoldenEye” (1995) was filmed there when Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) arrives at St. Petersburg station in Russia in the film. We had visited St. Pancras earlier in 2010, you can read about that 007 Travel Story here.
We took a coffee and a bun in the cafe at King’s Cross station. Bond did the same thing in a Young Bond book “SilverFin“. Our cafe was called Greggs.
“The train was packed and uncomfortable and filled with the thick, choking smoke from a hundred cigarettes and pipes, which turned the air yellow. James couldn’t find a seat and stood up as best he could, rattled and jolted from side to side as the rickety carriage trundled beneath the streets of London. It was a huge relief to finally arrive and come up out of the smoky depths into the wide-open spaces of King’s Cross station with its great roof of iron and glass.
He had nearly an hour to wait before his next train, so once he’d checked the platform number he bought himself a cup of coffee and a bun in the station cafe, where he spent some time sitting in the warm, steamy fug, surrounded by noisy chatter and entertained by the various comings and goings of the other travellers.”
Charlie Higson: “Young Bond: SilverFin” (2005)
The statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras railway station, London is a depiction in bronze by the sculptor Martin Jennings. The statue was designed and cast in 2007 and was unveiled on 12 November 2007 by Betjeman’s daughter, Candida Lycett Green and the then Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to commemorate Betjeman and mark the opening of St Pancras International as the London terminus of the Eurostar high-speed rail link between Great Britain and mainland Europe. The location memorialises the connection between St Pancras station and Betjeman, an early and lifelong advocate of Victorian architecture. (Wikipedia)
The Meeting Place is a 9-metre-high (30 ft), 20-tonne (20-long-ton) bronze sculpture that stands at the south end of the upper level of St Pancras railway station. Designed by the British artist Paul Day and unveiled in 2007, it is intended to evoke the romance of travel through the depiction of a couple locked in an amorous embrace. (Wikipedia)
The next destination was the Lego Store in Leicester Square. On the way there were also some great Chinese decorations in the streets, and the Odeon Theatre, which has often been the stage for world premieres of Bond films. Now they were showing e.g. “Black Adam” (2022), also starring Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate. One of the reasons to visit the Lego Store was the right-sized Lego Aston Martin DB5 on display, inside which you could sit and drive like Bond 🙂
One must-see place when visiting London is Piccadilly Circus, which is always full of life and tourists. There is never a dull moment when visiting Piccadilly.
Drax: “You have arrived at a propitious moment, coincident with your country’s one indisputable contribution to Western civilization. Afternoon tea. May I press you a cucumber sandwich?
We found The Langham Hotel, (1C Portland Plaza), which exterior doubles Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Russia in “GoldenEye” (1995). We experienced a wonderful afternoon tea here in London. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip!
Afternoon tea isn’t exactly cheap: £70 per person, but it’s worth it! There are a lot of different savory and sweet treats. There was a grand piano player and we were lucky enough to have him play “The World Is Not Enough“, Bond music that is! We celebrated Pirita’s birthday, and the staff brought a surprise cake!
Did you know that one of Roger Moore’s classmates at RADA was future Bond co-star Lois Maxwell, the original Miss Moneypenny? Timothy Dalton left school at the age of 16 to join The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He did not complete his studies and left the college in 1966.
We moved on to our next hotel, the Canary Riverside Plaza, which can’t really be classified as a Bond hotel, but it is connected to the five-star Virgin Active Health Club & Spa, which has a swimming pool that features in the movie “Skyfall” (2012). That pool is the one where Bond swims, and in the movie it’s in Shaghai, China. The hotel itself is a wonderful five-star hotel and its staff is really friendly and helpful.
Accommodation: Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel
Address: 46 Westferry Circus, Tower Hamlets, London, England
Room Type: Standard King Room
Price: £303,75 / one night (353,43 EUR) / 3 persons, breakfast not included
Booked: via booking.com
The Über boat is a convenient and fast way to travel on the River Thames. We took an Über to The O2 Arena, formerly known as the ‘Millennium Dome’, seen at the end of the opening sequence of ‘The World Is Not Enough“‘ (1999) with Bond (Pierce Brosnan) chasing Cigar Girl (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) in the Q-Boat. The O2 Arena hosts concerts of big stars, there is also a cinema, shops and numerous restaurants, from which we chose an Italian one. At the O2 Arena, you could also climb the roof in Bond style…..
We had visited the Virgin Health Club in 2014 when we were in London, but that time we didn’t stay in the hotel or the pool area, we just went to take pictures outside. But this time was different! The hotel and health club staff were kind enough to allow us to take pictures at the pool after the health club closed when there were no other people there besides us. We created a similar situation as in the movie “Skyfall” where Bond (Daniel Craig) is swimming in a pool in Shanghai, China. Great place and excellent customer service both at the hotel and at the fitness club.
Then it was time for a good night’s sleep in our beautiful room, which had a great view over the Thames.
The next day, we find out that the Kremlin’s art repository can also be found in London, and we visit e.g. Bollinger 007 at the bar 🙂 You can move to next day here
See more 007 TRAVEL STORIES here
About The Author
Pirita and Mika travel around the world searching for James Bond filming locations. Since 2010.